1. THE CULTURE ECONOMY
Attitudes around materialism and experiences are dramatically shifting our motivations for travel. More than ever, culture is the currency of tourism. An awesome side-effect of our increasing cultural curiosity is that it’s making us feel more environmentally conscious. As our interest in experiencing global cultures rises, so does our sense of connectedness to the world; the more we travel the world, the more we want to take care of it.
2. THE OVERVIEW EFFECT
If vacations really do make us feel more connected, imagine what a view of Earth from outer space can do. By 2020 (yes, next year), the “overview effect” (the profound shift in cosmic perspective experienced by astronauts) will be available to everyday (albeit, super rich) people as space tourism finally becomes a reality.
3. CONNECTED IN ALL CORNERS
You don’t necessarily need to go all the way to space to find outside perspective though. There are still desolate places on Earth where you can go completely off-the-grid… for now. With the internet reaching more places than ever (not to mention initiatives like Elon Musk’s Starlink that are trying to provide internet coverage to every inch of the planet), finding a place to be truly disconnected is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
4. UNITED NATIONS OF PLASTIC
In America, we like to fancy ourselves heroes when we get our plastics into the right recycling bin. The dark truth is, the vast majority of “recyclables” don’t ever get recycled; instead, America’s waste is shipped to foriegn landfills where it’s becoming progressively more burdensome for the rest of the world. As countries like China shut their lids on America’s plastic, we’re getting desperate to find places to dump our trash.
5. THE RISE OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Last month we wrote about the perils of online shopping and choice overload. But thankfully, the overabundance of options is giving way to a whole new facet of online shopping: the recommendation economy. As it becomes more difficult to parse through the commoditization of everything, sites like “The Strategist…have come to define a new era of editorial-minded shopping companions” and might completely transform the way we shop.
6. DEEPFAKE SYMBIOSIS
Deepfakes (deceitful videos that superimpose faces with the help of AI and can make it seem as if anyone, like Obama, is saying anything, like “Killmonger was right,” for example) are already eerily convincing and causing confusion online. So it may be a relief to see the rise of detection software aimed at identifying/deterring/preventing deepfakes. Although, as detection algorithms improve, so will deepfake capabilities–creating a potentially perpetual arms race of uncertainty.
7. THE MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS
Why does it feel like revolutions happen so suddenly? The #MeToo movement, for example, may have seemed sudden, but took a perfect storm to propel it into global spotlight, seemingly overnight. At the heart of social movements are what this author identifies as “interdependencies” to explain why every new member of a cause emboldens others to join the same.
8. HAPPINESS UNIVERSITY
Recognizing our interrelatedness can make us happy; yet, ironically, comparing ourselves to others has the exact opposite effect. That’s just one of the takeaways from Yale’s most popular course ever: a class on happiness. Get the “shortest possible crash-course version” of the university’s beloved elective here.
We’re all interconnected, sharing our hopes, fears, social uprisings, and even our trash on this little floating ship called Earth. Every action we take has an impact on the world around us. So while firing up the grill and celebrating independence might be nice and all, perhaps what might give us a greater sense of purpose and belonging is reflecting on our inherent interdependence.